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Spry Dental Defense

Why Athletes Have Poor Oral Health

With the focus to support and promote an active, healthy lifestyle, Spry sponsors the Ragnar Relay and Trail Races. At each event we see how the athletes live up to the name of the strong, dauntless viking the race series is named after. Each team runs dozens of miles through thick and thin.

However, while living a healthy lifestyle is a goal for practically every runner in the race, what they don’t know is there is one glaring problem with their health that they‘ve probably overlooked.

Athletes’ oral health usually is poor—and that is more problematic than you may think.

After noticing several dental problems in the 2008 Beijing games, the International Olympic Committee called for more studies to be performed to look at the oral health of athletes. The subsequent study, published in 2013, looked at athletes from the 2012 Games. What they found was interesting:

  • 55% of athletes had dental caries (cavities).
  • 76% had gingivitits.
  • 40% were “bothered” by their oral health.
  • 28% reported that their poor oral health impacted their quality of life
  • 18% reported that their poor oral health impacted their training and performance.

To some this may be surprising, especially since athletes are generally very focused and disciplined in regards to their health. But this oversight isn’t one of commission but of omission. Many athletes don’t understand that the nature of their lifestyle and training causes tooth decay and gum disease.

Here’s why:

  • A Dry Mouth: Many athletes breathe through their mouths when they train. Naturally, this dries the mouth. But people don’t understand that saliva keeps the oral environment from becoming too acidic. If a person has a dry mouth, the pH lowers (the mouth becomes too acidic) and tooth decay occurs.
  • Routine: Many athletes have taxing schedules with early mornings, late nights and little time for extras. This can lead to completely overlooking or not giving enough time to the all-important task of brushing morning and night (and don’t forget flossing and rinsing). Without these basic preventive measures, teeth and gums will suffer.
  • Diet: Athletes need diets that support their training regimen, which often means a high amount of carbs and sugars. Especially during exercise, they resort to energy bars, gel packets, and sports drinks. This diet wreaks havoc on the teeth since the bacteria that cause cavities and other problems in the mouth feast on sugar and carbs.

But who cares? Cavities can be filled. If gums are bleeding, floss more. Right?


Studies show that gum disease is linked to clogged arteries and heart disease, among other serious illnesses. So in order to ensure that you can maintain a strong, active lifestyle, here are a three ways to combat the three problems listed above.

  • Moisturizing the Mouth: Three simple things will help keep the mouth moisturized: breathe through your nose instead of your mouth as much as you can; drink plenty of water; and suck on Spry Mints or Spry Gems during your exercise to help the mouth salivate. If you’re congested and need help breathing through your nose, consider a natural nasal spray like Xlear.
  • Strengthening the Routine: Brushing teeth and flossing are essential. But to support that routine, especially if it is shorter than desired, rinse your mouth with Spry Mouthwash and chew Spry Gum as part of the habit.
  • Opposing Consequences of Diet: When exercising and using energizing supplements high in carbs and sugar, be sure to chew Spry Gum or suck on Spry Mints immediately after. Additionally, dietitians say chocolate milk does just as much as sports drinks to re-energize the body, but it isn’t as hard on the teeth. So when possible, drink chocolate milk and water instead of sports drinks.

Spry Dental Defense formulates each of its products with natural ingredients like xylitol to better support oral health so you can continue enjoying your active lifestyle. Xylitol is a proven ingredient that inhibits bacteria from sticking to teeth, breaks up harmful accumulations of bacteria, and increases salivation. Spry is the sure way to have a healthy smile anytime, anywhere.